Sunday, October 17, 2010

When to Start Feeding Your Baby Cereal

All babies are different and develop at different paces.  From what I have gathered from our pediatrician, babies are ready to begin eating cereal once they can sit up with little support.  Our doctor recommended waiting until 4 months of age to begin cereal but said some babies are ready earlier.

Obvious signs your baby is ready to try cereal:

  • Sits with little to no support
  • Makes chewing motions with mouth
  • Brings tongue back and forth 
  • Teething

Our pediatrician is a mother herself and believes moms know best when it comes to their kids.  If your child is ready for cereal before 4 months of age, it is ok.  You just need to take it very slowly.  Some doctors recommend rice cereal first as it is easier on the stomach than oatmeal.  Also, be prepared for your baby to be a little constipated as he or she adjusts to the new diet.  

Remember, your baby still receives most of his or her nutrients from breast milk or formula until about 6 months of age.  If you're starting cereal at 4 months, the baby should still receive about 4 bottles each day.  

According to the Age-By-Age Guide to Feeding Your Baby at Baby Center, you should not move onto pureed baby foods until 6 months.  I think this depends on the baby as well.  My child is on the larger side of the growth scale, and our doctor said she should start eating baby food after just 2 weeks with the cereal.  Some babies need time to adjust, and some move more quickly.  Some babies are picky, and some will eat anything.  My daughter is picky.  Oatmeal and Banana is her favorite so far.  She also likes the rice.   : )

Be patient as you teach your little one to eat from a spoon.  Wear a poncho.  Be prepared to clean up a sticky mess.  As always, praise the little guy when he eats correctly from the spoon.  I'm not sure how long it is supposed to take for the babies to get used to the spoon.  My kid got the hang of it today, so it took her about a week.  Good luck with the transition, and don't get mad when he sticks his hand in his mouth as you drop in a spoonful of cereal!

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